Whose Bipolar is it Anyway?

I’m writing this piece with my husband in mind, not to challenge him, but to challenge the issue of the stigma of mental illness wrapped tightly in a blanket of shame and the ownership of that blanket.

For those who have been sentenced with this illness it is hard enough trying to pick up the pieces after a psychotic episode, let alone face the judgement of the world in our bare state of mind: vulnerable to the sting of any harsh comment. But what if you’re ready to tell the world, “Screw you! I suffer from a mental illness and I can function.” and your supporter may not share the same excitement? What if they harbour a similar shame; maybe a shame that disguises itself as concern for your well-being when you come out? Or maybe it’s a shame attached to them in that they’re scared to be associacted with a psychopath; well, okay, not psychopath, but someone who is not always in control and needs to be medicated?

Is this not my bipolar and my shame? Or are you sharing your illness with your supporter, so much so, that it’s a joint account of events and eruption of emotions? Am I selfish in wanting to tell the world that I’m an activist; or a wannabe activist and not consult with the person who saves me from myself ever so often?

Do you need permission to tell the world, if the illness runs through your veins, not theirs?

I carry the burden. I carry the bipolar. But I also see his fear when I’m not all there. When I’m gone, and all he has is, a monster.

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3 thoughts on “Whose Bipolar is it Anyway?

  1. glenn2point0 says:

    Speaking out, raising awareness and reducing stigma is a good thing. But there may need to be some sensitivity for those around us. Some friends I have spoken to use aliases to protect their families. One is even considering changing her legal name to protect her “quite prominent”. It’s a tricky one! For me, I post with my real name all the time and am looking into training in consumer advocacy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yve's Corner says:

      To protect our families from what? Is it just a privacy issue or one that concerns them being embarrassed of our actions/ behaviour when we are not well. E.g Maybe the children are scared of what people may say about the fact that they have a ‘crazy’ mom. You’re right it is a tricky one. My husband has always been private, so I know this is difficult for him: me putting myself out there. But I have always been an out there kind of person. With the memoir I’m writing, i know i’ll need to ‘come’ out, else it defeats the purpose of the whole thing, doesn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

      • glenn2point0 says:

        Stigma around mental illness is still very prevalent is all I am acknowledging and that can affect those we love. But I am all for breaking down the stigma by sharing our stories without shame, as that is something we should not feel. I think that owning our illness is a necessary step in our recovery. Not being defined by it but accepting it is part of us, as is medication for alot of us. Good luck with the memoir.

        Liked by 1 person

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